Press Release

Annual Report Ranks States on Quality of Education

Arizona takes the top spot while Nebraska comes in last

For Immediate Release
Contact: Ashley Pratte

Arlington, VA (January 24, 2017)– An annual report released by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) ranks all 50 states and the District of Columbia to spotlight the quality of education across America. Because of big government influence, students have suffered nationwide in the classroom. In its 21st edition, the Report Card on American Education highlights the success and failures of education in the United States across six categories: academic standards, charter schools, homeschool regulation burden, private school choice, teacher quality and digital learning.

Written by Inez Feltscher Stepman, Report Card on American Education exposes the effects of antiquated, big government influence on education policy, and how students in each state are hindered by it. Each state is given a number ranking and a letter grade. In 2016, no state scored higher than a B+.

“An excellent education has long been recognized as key to the American Dream. Unfortunately, our current monopolistic and expensive K-12 education system is failing American students, leaving them unprepared for the demands of higher education, careers, and life. The Report Card on American Education tracks state performance across six crucial areas in education policy: academic standards, charter school policy, homeschooling regulatory burden, private school choice, teacher quality, and digital learning. Because ALEC believes the future of American education involves empowering all parents with educational choice, charter school policy and school choice programs were more heavily-weighted than other categories,” said Feltscher, Director of the Education and Workforce Development Task Force at ALEC.

Arizona was ranked number one and received a B+ grade. The state scored highest in academic standards, as well as charter school and private school choice availability. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), Arizona spends $7,461 per pupil with only 13.3% of their funding coming from the federal government. Other states that were at the top of the list include Florida, Georgia, Indiana and Nevada.

Nebraska, on the other hand, came in last place and received a D grade. The nearly-failing grade is widely attributed to the fact that charter schools and private school choice programs are not allowed in Nebraska. The lack of digital learning also brought down Nebraska’s ranking. According to NAEP, Nebraska spends $10,012 per pupil—nearly $3,000 more than top-ranked Arizona. North Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and Wyoming join Nebraska at the bottom of the list.

“My hope is that parents, students, educators, voters and policymakers can use the information in this report to better understand the education systems in their states, and to learn from states that have become educational leaders,” said Feltscher.

To learn more about the methodology of the state rankings, and to see individual state data, read the full report here.


The American Legislative Exchange Council is the largest nonpartisan, voluntary membership organization of state legislators in the United States. The Council is governed by state legislators who comprise the Board of Directors and is advised by the Private Enterprise Advisory Council, a group of private, foundation and think tank members. For more information about the American Legislative Exchange Council, please visit:

Related Content